Penn State Fayette women set for another big season
College Football Videos
The Penn State Fayette women's basketball team put everything together and won its first PSUAC championship last season.
Now comes the encore.
“We are returning all five starters and our first girl off the bench,” said sixth-year coach Kurt Mattern, whose team went 15-12 overall and 14-2 in the conference. “We have great expectations. Last year, I think people were surprised we won. But this year, everybody will be gunning for us. We won't sneak up on anybody this year.”
The Roaring Lions' top returning seniors are guards Kaitlyn Novak and Kasey Ruble.
“Having Kasey Ruble back is big,” Mattern said. “She is a four-year starting point guard, and we call her the human press-breaker. Novak is a knockdown 3-point shooter, and she is the best perimeter defender in the conference.”
Ruble was a second-team USCAA All-American last season. Junior guard/forward Jill Guthrie — a Uniontown alum — earned first-team USCAA All-American honors last winter after averaging nearly 20 points per game. Sophomore guard Caitlin Wontroba — who graduated from Laurel Highlands and averaged more than 16 points last season — and junior forward Shelby Yourchick are the other returning starters. Junior forward Stephanie Longo was the top reserve last season.
“This group of girls is the finest team I've ever coached,” Mattern said, reflecting back on more than three decades of coaching in high school and college. “And we've picked up some freshmen shooters.”
Freshmen Shannon Flament (forward, Laurel Highlands), Carly Gruss (guard) Samantha Lee (guard), Tara Neely (guard), Kelsie Seman (guard, Connellsville) and Tori Simpson (guard/forward) provide Mattern with talented depth. Gruss was a leading scorer at Conemaugh Valley High School, and Neely was an all-state player in West Virginia.
“Everybody on our roster, I feel comfortable putting them in a game, and I've never had that,” Mattern said. “(Lack of) height is still a weakness, but our team speed will be our biggest strength. They've put in the time in the weight room over the summer, and they ran, and I've never had a group work this hard.”
The Roaring Lions beat Brandywine, 77-75, to win last season's PSUAC crown. This year, Mattern expects Brandywine, Greater Allegheny and Beaver to be the top competition in the PSUAC, but his team doesn't fear anybody.
“People are going to have to play us,” Mattern said. “If we don't set our goals high, why bother.”
The goals will be to win the PSUAC championship again, and perhaps make a major impact in the USCAA Tournament after going 0-2 at the national event last season.
“I really would love to win a national championship,” Novak said. “Starting out as freshmen, we were nothing and we've really built it up.”
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cal (Pa.) blanked in NCAA softball championship opener
- College notes: Guy continues to set vault records at Virginia
- Area college track athletes set for NCAA Div. II, III championships
- Slippery Rock's Taylor gearing up for 3rd trip to track nationals
- College notes: WCCA wins WPCC baseball title
- Mercyhurst advances to first D-II World Series
- Grove City graduate Bray named to PAC 60 list
- Cal (Pa.) resumes quest for 3rd NCAA softball title